The Lord judges the peoples. Psalm 7:8a  

All of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ. So that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. 2 Corinthians 5:10  

Judges and courtrooms are something we are familiar with. Persons accused of crimes are judged and found either innocent, or guilty. Two options, one the person is vindicated and free, two the person is assessed a penalty. Many have an image of God as such  a judge. Sitting high above us on a throne in heaven, judging all on their actions. Sort of like Santa Claus in determining who is naughty and who is nice. These verses both could be interpreted to say that God will judge us on our behavior, and decide if we are good or bad. That doesn’t sound like the loving God full of grace that we know.  

If we look at all of verse 8 in the Psalm, the latter half says, in some translations: “Vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. ” Psalm 7 is attributed to David, and in it he is praying for deliverance and God’s judgement upon all those that are against him. He expects God to vindicate him and his cause while harshly judging his enemies.  

Then we come to the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians. He is letting the people know that they will appear before the judgement seat and that Christ will judge them according to what they have done. We would all be lost if that were the only criteria. There is no way we can be holy enough to get close to a holy God. As one commentator puts it: “All were lost and undone, dead and ruined, slaves to sin, having no power to deliver themselves, and must have remained thus miserable for ever, if Christ had not died.” Our holy and perfect God, who sent His Son to earth as a person, wants us to follow Him. To do our best to follow the teachings of Jesus, to follow the intention of the commandments.  

We are going to sin as we live our lives, but we can focus on belief in and following Christ. Then thank and praise God for His saving actions through grace. No, we can’t earn this salvation and forgiveness, but our loving God has already provided it for us. Through the grace of God and the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, we have an advocate for our salvation.  

Wise Father, we thank you for being a wise judge. We submit to your authority and acknowledge that we are sinners in need of your grace and mercy. Help us to lead the holy and upright lives that you make possible for us. Guide us in grace and truth to please you in all we say and do. We ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to help us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen  

Chris Gabel